There are, of course, three games remaining on the schedule and we will dedicate plenty of digital ink to those games in the coming days and weeks. But as we near the end of the season, it’s only natural to begin looking ahead. Over the weekend, Himicane asked me, “Who do you think will leave early?” which got my gears turning about the roster and some potential sore spots. So let’s go position by position.
Note: All players will be referred to by their eligibility in Fall 2018.
|Lowell Narcisse||RS Freshman|
|Justin McMillan||RS Junior|
Etling graduates, which leaves LSU with Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse, Justin McMillan and Caleb Lewis as the scholarship QBs. It’s likely the staff adds an incoming Freshman QB to this mix as well. A solid unit, but the primary competition should be between Brennan and Narcisse.
|Lanard Fournette||RS Junior|
Guice should go and Williams graduates, leaving LSU, for the first time in a number of years, without any established option at tailback heading into a season. I remain high on Brossette’s ability to be a feature back, as he is a former top recruit. Big strides can happen when the staff’s focus shifts to developing a single player and working with his strengths, rather than focusing on Guice and Williams. CEH hasn’t shown much this year, but more reps and focus should help. Curry and Provens are current commits, and the staff is still pursuing a third back in this signing class, which should provide a solid pool of backs, albeit one lacking a star.
|Derrick Dillon||RS Junior|
|Racey McMath||RS Freshman|
|Mannie Netherly||RS Freshman|
Chark and Gage are gone but LSU returns all of the remaining group. Unfortunately, none of these talented guys have distinguished themselves as potential No. 1 options heading into the 2018 season. Only Dillon has double-digit receptions. Giles is probably the biggest immediate impact addition and the former Texas Tech No. 1 could be LSU’s leading receiver. Stephens remains listed at receiver, so I included him here, but he could be headed back to defense. LSU is still heavily recruiting multiple wideouts, and could take up to four more depending on who wants in.
|Jamal Pettigrew||RS Sophomore|
|Aaron Moffitt||RS Freshman|
LSU loses J.D. Moore, who hasn’t been a significant contributor this season. Moreau is back and he’s become a dependable option, catching 15 passes. Tory Carter may be the star here, though. He’s a fierce blocker who has shown some skills in the passing game. Most of the rest have played throughout the season, though without much distinction. May add one more body here.
|Adrian Magee||RS Junior|
|Jakori Savage||RS Sophomore|
Weathersby may very well decide to try his hand at the NFL considering his lengthy injury history, though it’s hard to seem him being valued as an NFL prospect right now. Charles is the left tackle of the now and the future and has the makings of a star. Savage may factor if Weathersby goes. I penciled Rosenthal on offensive tackle, because I think that’s where he winds up. You could see additional movement here for guys like Deculus and Magee.
|Donavaughn Campbell||RS Junior|
There’s a chance Brumfield could test NFL waters, but I think another year of tape would help him immensely. Ingram is a young stud. Campbell has yet to come into his own battling disciplinary issues. Hines wants to be recruited as defensive lineman, but I think his future is at Guard. I suspect they will add a JUCO body and maybe another freshman.
|Lloyd Cushenberry III||Junior|
Like Brumfield, Clapp may test the waters, but I think he will return for his Senior campaign. Cushenberry is solid interior depth that can play all three interior spots. Smith is an incoming freshman with a Clapp-like frame.
|Neil Farrell Jr.||Sophomore|
|Justin Thomas||RS Freshman|
Now that’s a depth chart. Lawrence is a star and Fehoko has all the makings of one. Logan and Farrell will be capable backups and Travez Moore is an new comer that should given quality snaps. A lot to love here.
Alexander is a stud in the middle, but you’d like to see more depth. Shelvin needs to get himself right for 2018. If he does, all should be okay here, considering many of the DEs can slide to the interior depending on the looks LSU wants to give. Jenkins has a nice frame at 6-3, 290, but you’d love to redshirt him and let him add additional bulk. I suspect the staff adds one more body here by signing day.
|Ray Thornton||RS Sophomore|
|Andre Anthony||RS Sophomore|
Unless Key gets some type of awful news, he’s gone. Even if he does, he’s likely headed to the NFL. Chaisson is his heir apparent, and while he hasn’t had the breakout Freshman campaign of Key, he’s also been relegated to more spot duty. He’s shown flashes.
Divinity is Corey Thompson’s back-up and has yet to distinguish. This spot has been cycled off the field in lieu of the Nickel. I imagine many of the BUCK or Inside guys could also play here.
Devin White is a star and Taylor has proven more than capable. Phillips hasn’t really emerged yet, but so much talent and he’s seeing the field. Queen, Clark and Baskerville provide formidable depth to a unit that had fewer players than our kicking unit just a season ago.
|Greedy Williams||RS Sophomore|
|Kary Vincent Jr.||Sophomore|
Entirely expecting both Donte and Toliver will declare, and O seems to be as well. But there’s always a chance. Williams looks the part of LSU’s next stud corner. LSU really needs Fulton to emerge from his former five-star status. He played a minor role as a freshman and faced disciplinary issues this season. It’s possible they’ve opted to redshirt him considering he missed half the season already and already featured considerable depth. Vincent is the nickel of the future and Kirklin has seen time as a true freshman as well. There’s a pair of highly touted freshman LSU would like to nab, but I suspect they would only take the right two there.
|Cameron Lewis||RS Sophomore|
Delpit is a superstar in the making. Battle is up and down, and Monroe sees a lot of time. Should be interesting to see if Paris is able to get a medical hardship waiver and an extra year of eligibility. I think the staff has a particular take in mind for that last spot and wouldn’t extend the offer to anybody.
Overall, a pretty stout looking roster. You’ve got experience littering the roster, notably on both lines. The only spots where LSU lacks proven production will be at the offensive skill spots. There’s a lot of good reason to believe there may finally be an answer at QB. WR is more questionable, but there’s a core there you feel good about. RB is a lot of bodies and could turn into a committee approach, similar to the 2011 squad.
It’s likely Guice, Key, Jackson and Toliver are gone for the NFL, but no other current player has a standout case for high selection. Of course, things can always change and some players have it in their minds things will work out no matter what and may opt to move on.
The other factor is attrition. We’ve seen our fair share of transfers, especially along the OL, in the previous few seasons. Let’s hope that trend is halted so LSU can build proper depth there.
This looks like a team that could compete for a championship in 2018.